Biltmore Wine and Southern fare: a cookbook review party

Guest post by Nichole Livengood

IMG_6312[1]

Not too long ago, I invited my girls from the Travelers Rest Cookbook Book Club to drive up the mountain to my house for a Cookbook Review Party for Georgia girl, Gena Knox’s new cookbook, Southern My Way. I, like Gena, grew up in my Grandmother’s kitchen, so I was excited to share these recipes with my friends that connect Knox so heavily to her past. When Biltmore Wine heard about our little shindig, they jumped in and paired our lineup of amazing dishes with a selection of their wines. Exciting, right?

 IMG_1223

Go here for the history of Biltmore Wine.

People always get wide eyed when I tell them I have a cookbook book club.  Our group’s skill level ranges from professional chef to “I can’t cook”, so you can imagine the blast we have when we gather over a mass of dishes we’ve prepared from our cookbook choice that quarter.  Everyone has a story to tell about their recipe: a radical substitution, a near miss, a disaster, and once in a while we fall in love with a dish we’ll make over and over again. I look forward to our monthly meetings and have made some rockin’ cool friends.

IMG_1194

Let’s get back to the dish on the table, shall we? Gena Knox’s new cookbook is a beautiful mix of easy go-to recipes (Roasted Cabbage with Lime and Cayenne) as well as more complicated “special event” dishes (Chicken, Artichoke and Wild Rice Casserole)  If you have a Southern bride or new cook on your list, this is a home run. From dinner party hits (Cedar-Planked Salmon and Bourbon-Roasted Banana Parfaits) to weeknight suppers (Maple Pecan-Glazed Chicken and Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts), there won’t be a lack of inspiration.  As a collective group, we found that the cooking times varied from the actual recipes a little bit, but nothing you can’t figure out by sticking close to the oven and putting your eyes and nose to work.

IMG_1210

Everyone in the group was assigned a recipe to make for the review party, a little different from our cookbook club where people pick their own dishes.  And then all of the dishes were paired with one or more  Biltmore Wines.

IMG_1241

I have to say this about Biltmore Wines.  I tried them years and years ago and was not stoked.  Until recently, I haven’t purchased their wine from a store, even though it is made just up the mountain from me. (I know, shame!) I haven’t recommended it to anyone, either.  But after this wine dinner, I think we are all fans.  This is not the same wine Biltmore was making ten years ago.  I promise!

 IMG_1190

Click here for a full list of Biltmore Wine offerings.

If you are a Gap Creek Gourmet follower, you are about to fall out of your chair.  I LOVE their Merlot.  For real. (I am NOT a Merlot fan.)  But this wine is not grape-heavy like most, but still has that rich layered finish you need from a good dinner wine.  I’d buy it again and again for happy hour or any dinner party.  We are also in love with the Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Blanc de Blancs.

 IMG_1217

So these are the dishes and wine pairings from our fabulous dinner.  We, of course, had our favorite pairings and at the end of our dinner voted on our favorite dish.  The winner took home two of Gena Knox’s cookbooks!

IMG_1211

Our menu:

Baked Marinated Feta (feta, basil, olive oil, thyme, lemon, fennel, red pepper) paired with Reserve North Carolina Chardonnay and Merlot (preferred pairing: Chardonnay)

Farro Salad with Mango, Cucumber and mint paired with Century White and Pinot Grigio (preferred pairing: Pinot Grigio)

Maple Pecan Glazed Chicken (maple syrup, pecans, apple cider, garlic) paired with Reserve Russian River Pinot Noir

Smoked Cheddar Popovers paired with Reserve North Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon (preferred pairing: Chardonnay or Merlot)

Chicken, Artichoke and Wild Rice Casserole paired with Reserve North Carolina Chardonnay and Reserve Russian River Pinot Noir (preferred pairing: Pinot Noir)

Cedar-Planked Salmon with Honey Lime Glaze (preferred pairing: Merlot)

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Pears paired with Riesling and Pinot Grigio (preferred pairing Pinot Grigio)

Bourbon-Roasted Banana Parfaits paired with Blanc de Blancs Sparkling and Pas de Deux Sparkling (preferred pairing Blanc de Blancs)

IMG_1205

A huge thank you to Biltmore Wine who let us sample their offerings. And to ACPR Media for hooking us up with cookbooks from Gena Knox for our dish winner, the Farro Salad with Mango, Cucumber and Mint made by Sherri Carswell-Whittington. Way to go, girl!

IMG_1249

Cheers, ya’ll.